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Quest for hepatitis B treatment wins Emerging Researcher Award

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute researcher Dr Greg Ebert has won the Bupa Health Foundation Emerging Health Researcher Award 2014 for his work on developing a new therapy for chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.

Chronic hepatitis B is a viral liver disease that affects 230,000 Australia... Read More

New Type of More Problematic Mosquito-Borne Illness Detected in Brazil

A second form of the painful chikungunya virus has appeared in Brazil—one that could more easily spread, including to the U.S.

When a mosquito-borne disease first arrived in the Western Hemisphere last year, humans were relatively lucky. The disease, which causes crippling joint pain persis... Read More

A Snippet: Thioploca

The seafloor off the coast of Chile is carpeted with bacterial mats of gigantic proportions. They cover an area as large as that of the state of Alabama. Their total weight is of the order of 100 million tons, which probably makes this the largest single species microbiome on Earth. The mats con... Read More

The Ancient Art Of Cheese-Making Attracts Scientific Gawkers

From Swiss to cheddar, cheeses depend on the action of microbes for their flavor and aroma. But it's far from clear how these teams of microbes work together to ripen cheese.

To a cheese-maker, that's just the beauty of the art. To a scientist, it sounds like an experiment waiting to happen.
... Read More

Hygienic Laboratory in the Marine Hospital, Staten Island, New York

In 1887, Dr. Joseph Kinyoun set up his one-room Hygienic Laboratory in the Marine Hospital on Staten Island in New York to research cholera and other infectious diseases such as diphtheria, typhoid, smallpox, typhus, plague and tuberculosis. This was the beginning of the National Institutes of H... Read More

Would You Lick an E.Coli-Shaped Popsicle?

Designer Wei Lei poses a challenging, and fascinating question: Would you lick a delicious treat that resembles a prickly cactus or a deadly E. coli bacterium?

The Chinese designer’s collection of sweets, Dangerous Popsicles, transforms frozen sugar water into colorful spiny treats inspired b... Read More

Worse Than The Bite

City dwellers across the U.S. might agree on one common enemy: bedbugs. But hey, not to worry, right? "Bedbugs are not known to spread diseases, but bites can be very itchy and irritating." Or so says the New York City Department of Health. But that assertion may not be true. Because a new study... Read More

7 Amazing Scientists and 1 Music Video Raise Hope for Ebola Researchers

A music video making the rounds on YouTube entitled “One Truth,” is dedicated to all of the brave researchers, healthcare workers, and others who have put their lives on the line to save people during the recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease. Pardis Sabeti, MD, DPhil, an NIH-funded New Innovat... Read More

Emerging Disease Could Wipe Out American, European Salamanders

A deadly disease that is wiping out salamanders in parts of Europe will inevitably reach the U.S. through the international wildlife trade unless steps are taken to halt its spread, says University of Maryland amphibian expert Karen Lips.

The recently described fungus, Batrachochytrium salama... Read More

Scientists find superbug bacteria in World War I soldier who died of dysentery

Scientists who unlocked the genetic code of bacteria grown from a soldier who died of dysentery say it revealed a superbug that was resistant to antibiotics decades before those drugs were in common use.

The discovery sheds light on the history of antibiotic resistance, which has become a glo... Read More

Epidemiological Study by Penn Vet Professor Investigates Parasite-Schizophrenia Connection

Many factors, both genetic and environmental, have been blamed for increasing the risk of a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Some, such as a family history of schizophrenia, are widely accepted. Others, such as infection with Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite transmitted by soil, undercooked meat and cat... Read More

Why CRISPR Doesn't Work in E. coli

We received this query:

»I enjoyed the article on your blog 'Six Questions About CRISPRs' by Merry Youle. I am an ex-lambdologist, having quit phage lambda in the early 70s and moved to GM-plants. There is one thing about CRISPR that I do not understand: Why did lambdologists not find CRISPR?... Read More

Fine Reading: There Is No 'Healthy' Microbiome

This is our first ever recommendation of an article published outside the usual scientific venues, but after all the hype we have heard about the human microbiome we were delighted to finally read a balanced account of what the research tells us and what it does not tell us. Plus, this article w... Read More

Ebola virus: Genes 'play significant role in survival'

Genetic factors could play an important role in whether people survive the Ebola virus, say US scientists.

A study of mice infected with the virus found they showed a number of different symptoms, with 19% remaining unaffected by the disease.

This could explain why some people recover from... Read More

Five Questions About the Foraminifera

The Foraminifera ("forams") are among the largest and most abundant of all unicellular organisms. They can reach 20 cm in length and 18 cm in width, and the shells surrounding them are even bigger, up to 30 cm in length. They have existed in prodigious numbers that the remnants of their shells h... Read More

Flu virus key machine: First complete view of structure revealed

Scientists looking to understand – and potentially thwart – the influenza virus now have a much more encompassing view, thanks to the first complete structure of one of the flu virus’ key machines. Knowing the structure allows researchers to finally understand how the machine works as a whole, a... Read More

Small Wonders: 20 Winning Images Depict Life under the Microscope

For the past four decades the Nikon Small World competition has placed photography under the microscope, with eye-catching results. This year’s 20 finalists, announced Thursday, are no exception, zooming in on microorganisms, minerals and even electronic circuitry to find beauty hidden from the ... Read More

On The Definition of Prokaryotes

As will be argued below the present definition of a prokaryote is highly unsatisfactory. To give an example: a prokaryote is "a cell or organism lacking a nucleus and other membrane-enclose organelles, usually having its DNA in a single circular molecule" (Brock, Biology of Microorganisms, 10th ... Read More

By introducing DNA from other organisms, scientists enhance production of compounds in fungus

The enzymes and compounds produced by fungi are of great interest to the pharmaceutical, textile, paper and food industries. These organisms are capable of secreting, their nutritional needs are low and have high growth rate. A group of researchers from the National Autonomous University of Mexi... Read More

We'd all like to get to Mars. Let's make sure we don't get sick along the way.

While Hollywood loves to imagine humans encountering all manner of horrific monsters in the depths of space, the greatest threat to a long-term, manned space mission may not come with tentacles, or extra mouths, or an insatiable love for human flesh. It may, in fact, be the invisible microbes t... Read More

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